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Space Race Heats Up As Virgin Galactic To Launch July 11

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The futuristic Virgin Galactic reuseable, sub-orbital spacecraft on static display | Space Race Heats Up As Virgin Galactic To Launch July 11 | featured

The space race is heating up, with an all-new cast of characters. Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday that they will launch their next spaceflight on July 11 and will feature founder Richard Branson. The flight is nine days ahead of its competitor, Blue Origin, who will launch a flight featuring founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. 

RELATED: After Amazon, Jeff Bezos Will Head Off To Outer Space

Billionaire Space Race: Virgin Galactic Vs Blue Origin

Virgin Galactic’s decision to launch SpaceShipTwo Unity with Branson aboard is ushering in a new version of the Space Race in which billionaires are the major players.

Virgin’s flight jumps the gun over the much-publicized launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle. Meanwhile, space race rival and fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos just stepped down from his duties at Amazon.

He’ll then spend the next few days getting ready for his spaceflight. Before Virgin announced their schedule, Bezos was preparing to become the first billionaire in space via his company. Instead, Branson will likely get there a few days ahead.  

Branson issued a statement for the flight announcement. He said that “After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good.

I’m honored to help validate the journey our future astronauts will undertake and ensure we deliver the unique customer experience people expect from Virgin.”

Virgin Galactic’s Fourth Test Spaceflight

The July 11 spaceflight is Virgin Galactic’s fourth test spaceflight to date. It’s also its first mission with a crew of four onboard. The company’s previous flight last May 22 featured two pilots. As a result of the announcement, shares of Virgin Galactic popped more than 27% during after-hours trading.

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Branson will have three Virgin Galactic mission specialists to accompany him during the mission. They include chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer Colin Bennett, and government affairs VP Sirisha Bandla. Virgin Galactic pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci will fly the company’s VSS Unity spacecraft.

Virgin To Livestream The Spaceflight

In addition, Branson’s space company announced that they will Livestream the entire spaceflight for the first time. Viewers can watch the feed over Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. 

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 to build a space tourism business. Virgin’s plans to carry passengers to space already received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Last June 25, the Federal Aviation Administration granted Virgin a license to fly passengers on future space flights. The company targets early 2022 to begin flying paying passengers.

Billionaire Space Race

With the race to launch two billionaires this month, the billionaire space race heats up. Apart from Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX also plans to carry passengers on longer trips into orbit.

This includes a possibility to link to the US Space Station. Once the race on flies first is over, the competition will again heat up to find out who does it best.

Watch the VIdeoFromSpace feature on Richard Branson joining the crew that will fly on Virgin Galactic Unity 22 on July 11:

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Are you interested in flying into space? Do you think space flight will become affordable within your lifetime? Let us know what you think about outer space, Drop your comments in the comment section below.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  • Anthony Daniels says:

    I hope i am in your Legal WILL.

  • The $$$ Higher Than Pole Jumper can touch says:

    I question what they could consider as affordable for the average person, its the CONCORD remade all over again. Since only people with 8 figure incomes will be able to afford it…I just don’t see the purpose.

  • Michael Valgos says:

    I don’t know what people expect to get out of it other than bragging rights You are looking at things from high up and what are you going to build space station drive thru I think they will find that it is not like it is on tv Everything changes up there So I wish them well I think the cost of these operations with their money could do a lot of good right here on Earth and a lot of people could have a nice day

  • Joe Gomez says:

    yes. I would love to see more of this universe

    not in my lifetime.

  • mike says:

    I hope it works out well for everyone involved, BUT do not expect to spend my tax dollars to have NASA come get you if something goes wrong.

  • GeorgeBrounty LtCol retired says:

    I retired as an LDO LtCol out of the Marine Corps after thirty two years of service. Wing Maintenance Officer. It would be an honor to be the first Aviation Maintenance Officer in space.

  • Stanley A Evans says:

    I have NO desire to leave terra firma!

  • Tom Hall says:

    It is an avenue for the extremely rich to travel down. The owners of these vehicles , have much to gain from the reusable aspect of the vehicles. How many trips before the horror of an unprecedented accident occurs? Build a space palace …..one to travel to, one to showcase the ability to jump start a true space race. Not a station used primarily for exploration experiments, but one to showcase the grandeur of the destination as well as the trip, there and back. Colonization comes to mind. Take the palace to orbit the moon…..to even other celestial destinations, Venus, mars, Milky way…… . The people’s of earth know travel is possible…..How far are these seriously rich entrepreneurs willing to go and how much are the people of the world willing to pony up to leave “OUR BLUE MARBLE” for other destinations. Who inevitably is responsible for the failures as they appear?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hope Benzo space ship doesn’t return let him control the universe and try and dominate it no money or democratic people only the wide open spaces. Gods speed he is going to need it.

  • anonymous says:

    It really isn’t space flight …if they were going to orbit earth it might be interesting but this isn’t much more than high flight in an airplane

  • Bette Jane Z. Haskell says:

    The word competition bothers me. Speed doesn’t usually accomplish anything except mistakes. We don’t need mistakes in space. We’ve made enough of them here. By the way have you billionaires paid your taxes? We have a few problems at home on earth that need addressing.

  • Fuq Offer says:

    If you believe you can go to space I have some ocean front property in Iowa I would like to sell ya…

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